“It has indeed been a great journey,” the 25-year-old said from the team hotel, where they are finalising preparations for the tournament, with Pool A matches against Ireland, New Zealand and Brazil awaiting.

“It remains a massive honour for me to play for the team and I am going out there to do my best, not only for team and country, but also myself.

“I feel that my journey and my performances on the field can inspire the youth where I come from and that is very satisfying for me," added Baloyi, who plays hooker in sevens rugby.

Baloyi’s performances on the pitch and the pursuit of her rugby dreams led to the University of Pretoria and the Delta Drone Tuks Women's Sevens team, where she soon realised what she is capable of.

A few overseas tournaments for the Pretoria-based team and selection for the national student’s team at the World University Games in Italy paved the way for her towards the most valued logo in South African rugby, the Springbok.

In 2022, Baloyi took a step closer to wearing the Bok emblem when she was included in the national squad for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, and the circle was completed when she made her debut for the Springbok Women's Sevens team in Cape Town at the end of 2023.

"This is my third consecutive tournament in the series and I am loving it – I go out there to make the best of every moment,” she said.

“Every play that I am involved in, every tackle I make, I just want to make it count. We are not getting ahead of ourselves for this tournament, we are just focusing on the next game and that is my approach as well, to make the most of every opportunity.

“So far on the circuit, we had good days and bad days, but we always bounced back and got our chins up again. Our approach for this tournament is to get back up and go again.

For Baloyi, Vancouver adds to the road rugby she has travelled: “Looking back a decade ago, I honestly did not think this rugby journey would bring me this far.

“Now, I am very grateful, I could make my family proud as well as those girls who are experiencing similar circumstances like I did. Yesterday, we went up into the mountains and standing there, with the Springbok on my chest was just such an overwhelming feeling of gratitude on where this journey is taking me.”

Pool fixtures (SA times, all matches on SuperSport):

Friday, 23 February
22h36: Ireland

Saturday, 24 February
03h08: New Zealand
20h59: Brazil